Putrajaya freezes bus permits for Bersih weekend

By G. Manimaran
Bahasa Malaysia Editor
The Malaysian Insider
July 07, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — Putrajaya has frozen temporary bus permits for travel across the peninsula to Kuala Lumpur, in what is seen as an effort to limit the turnout for Saturday’s Bersih rally.

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar confirmed the directive is effective tomorrow, saying the commission did not want traffic congestion in the capital city.

“We don’t want to add to the congestion in the city, and are taking precautionary measures,” he told The Malaysian Insider this morning.

The former Home Minister added that SPAD did not see the need for temporary permits as there were no festive occasions or school holidays that would require more buses entering the city.

But he added that normal express bus and train services including the city’s light rail transit (LRT) would continue as usual.

“The LRT will run as usual without interruptions, and also normal bus services . . . no change, it will carry on as usual,” Syed Hamid said. “I don’t foresee any problems.”

Asked if action would be taken if the SPAD directive was ignored, he expressed confidence that the bus operators were responsible and would heed the instruction, adding he just wanted to tell the public to use regular bus services to the Klang Valley.

The Road Transport Department (RTD) confirmed the directive had been issued by SPAD, which has taken over the regulation of temporary permits from RTD for buses for students and factory workers.

RTD director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan told The Malaysian Insider that SPAD had notified the department to take action against any such buses operating from today to Saturday.

“As SPAD has made the decision, RTD and police can take action on any buses carrying passengers without temporary permits,” he said, confirming that the decision applied nationwide. “We can stop and impound the buses.”

He added that temporary permits would usually be issued a week in advance.

Bus and city LRT services were affected in 2009 during demonstrations protesting the use of the Internal Security Act 1960, which allows for detentions without trial.

The government’s latest action came as the mercury had risen over a planned Bersih street rally after Umno Youth and Perkasa pledged to hold counter-rallies.

A government clampdown over the past week that led to the arrest of hundreds of Bersih supporters only resulted in defiance from the electoral reform movement and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders, who have strongly backed the march as it seeks to build momentum ahead of a general election expected within the year.

The opposition coalition continues to insist that up to 300,000 will attend the rally, despite Bersih accepting a government offer to move the July 9 street march to a stadium.

The offer from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Monday came after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, stepped in to diffuse tension on Sunday by asking the government and Bersih to come to the negotiation table.

Despite Bersih’s acceptance of Najib’s offer, authorities are still insisting that the coalition of 62 NGOs apply for a police permit to hold its event.

However, Information Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim announced last night that the government would not accept any application to hold the Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur as it was an outlawed organisation.

Bersih has vowed to carry on, and has told its supporters to gather in the historic Stadium Merdeka this Saturday.

This is the second such rally organised by Bersih. Fifty thousand people took to the streets in 2007 in Kuala Lumpur before they were dispersed by riot police using water cannons and tear gas.

The event has been partly credited for PR’s record gains in Election 2008, when the opposition coalition was swept to power in five states, and won 82 federal parliamentary seats.

  1. #1 by Peter on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 12:45 pm

    Since PM and HM do not respect YDP Agong, indirectly they are telling Bersih to do the same. If they do not provide the stadium as agreed and are deliberately delaying and not responding, Bersih should not fall into their game plan but proceed with the original plan of the street rally. Good suggestion, Merdeka Square is the best alternative. No need to ask for permission.
    On anmother note, you cannot trust the UMNO politicians…perhaps, the dead ones!
    Now they are playing with Bersih, passing the ball around and try to make a fool of the Bersih organizers. There is always another day to confront these UMNO political!!
    Like kerala mamak commented, the last resort is to go back to the street. This provisin is enshrined in the Federal Constitutions, guaranteed the right of citizens to hold peaceful demonstrations in closed or opened areas!!

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 12:53 pm

    To not lift the ban on Bersih even after it has stood down in deference to the King’s advice against demonstration on the streets; to say in beginning that stadium was proper venue and available for Bersih’s Rally and to now say (even after Bersih has backed down) that no stadiums are available (see Rais’s comments per Malaysiakini’s report of 6th July); to continue with crackdowns on Bersih’s supporters and to have Putrajaya freeze bus permits for Bersih weekend all point to the intent to put to an end on a permanent basis Bersih, as a threat, now and forever. Collectively this is to humiliate / force Bersih to stand down and just fade away or alternatively have Bersih carries on its “illegal” rally and then have a massive crackdown on all Bersih advocates, supporters & opposition key politicians. In part it is for the Right Wing to put Najib in an untenable position, which he tries to deflect to survive by first forgetting about his stadium offer and even endorse silat group pledged to wage “war” on Bersih.

  3. #3 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 1:01 pm

    Next SPAD will cancel all outstation trips by taxis, domestic flights by MAS and AIRASIA.

    Smart guy, this Syed fella. Congrats.

    All tourists in Malaysia can just stay in their hotel rooms and watch attractive shows on RTM

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 1:07 pm

    Collectively, the acts stated in my preceding post (currently under moderation) are to force Bersih (with no other options) into carrying on the “illegal” rally (outside the stadiums) so that the authorities could quash it with extreme prejudice. Bersih, when you started the idea of show of strength, you gave ideas to the political opportunists, walked right into the trap. I have ever been supportive of Bersih’s principles but critical of its means by declaring down town street rallies in a face-off without sufficient canvassing of the various scenarios/plots hatch by othyers to use Bersih as bogeyman for their other motives and agendas of power struggle-and without sufficient objective calculations of relative strength/weaknesses of countervailing forces/elements brought to bear on it in a showdown. When one starts something of this magnitude and threaten faceoff with the powers-that-be, one has to do the homework and be very sure how the end will be: victory or abject defeat. Now even if Bersih wants to stop the public rally, they purposely won’t allow you, having conjured circumstances that force Bersih to continue the inexorable course to face what that awaits. The purpose is to put an end to Bersih once and for all without it being able to wiggle out of the trap. You have to lie now on the bed that you make.

  5. #5 by bruno on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 1:07 pm

    Buses or no buses,rain or shine if the Bersih rally is on, the crowd will be there.The crowd will walk over froggy and mat rempits if they are standing over there.

  6. #6 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 1:09 pm

    Someone need to tell Najib that petty jealousy is NOT a legitimate political strategy..Its what faggots do. As far as I know, no faggots have yet to run countries..

  7. #7 by bruno on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 1:17 pm

    Rais,why don’t you just shut your mouth and head for the hills.Whenever you want to talk think first.Don’t always embarrassed Najib by acting cranky.You need to polish up your public behaviour and learn good manners.You are a senior Minister and have to set good examples for the junior ministers or else every boby will be like you.Kadang kabok.

  8. #8 by bruno on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 1:31 pm

    Whenever Rais Yatim opens his mouth he is an embarassment to every body standing near him.It is better he keeps his mouth shut and concentrate on the hackers and how to censor the bloggers who criticise his beloved Umno B.

  9. #9 by boh-liao on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 2:30 pm

    Next, d botak mayorder polis, UmnoB Youth, Perkosa n Silat exponents 2 spread sharp nails on d surface of roads leading 2 KL
    No vehicles in n out of KL in d next 2 days

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 11:12 pm

    So KL will now be a Ghost Town on Saturday 9th July. Business activity will be very, very limited. No doubt many will suffer losses. Who is responsible?

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